OSF Saint Anthony Medical Center is the first hospital in the area to offer animal-assisted therapy to our patients because we believe in treating the emotional as well as the physical needs of our patients. Animal Assisted Therapy uses highly trained animals and handlers to help patients achieve specific physical, social, cognitive, and emotional goals. Specially trained therapy dogs and their owners will, on request, visit the hospital to bring comfort to patients, reduce stress, anxiety, pain, blood pressure, and increase patient social interaction and communication. The OSF Saint Anthony program is modeled after the successful Paws 4 Therapy, Inc. program which has been cited as a Joint Commission "Best Practice" and is the model for the newly proposed Illinois Department of Public Health guidelines.
How it works
A dog/handler team will visit the bedside of medically qualified patients, at their request.
Interested in becoming part of our Animal-Assisted Therapy Program?
Basic Qualifying Requirements
- Your dog should consistently perform the following with one command (“dog sit” and the dog puts his rear on the ground).
- sit on command
- down on command
- stay and recall on command
- walk loosely on a leash without pulling, even when excited or in a new environmentget along well with other dogs
- able to perform commands without treats
- Your dog should like people
- Not be overly vocal
- have no food or possession issues
- should not have separation anxiety issues
- Your dog needs to be at least one year of age
- Handlers must be 18 years or older
- Dogs must be up to date on all vaccinations
- Dogs must be free of all skin problems
*Prong collars and gentle leaders are not acceptable
Volunteer Shifts and How to Apply
If you and your dog would like to be considered for part of this exciting new program at OSF Saint Anthony Medical Center, please click here to download the Animal-Assisted Therapy volunteer application. After phone screening, you may be invited to our temperament testing. If you and your dog pass, you will need to be available for four full days of training held over two weekends.
If you are unable to attend the posted dates, please submit an application for consideration at future training opportunities.
Please contact us with any questions at (815) 227-2500.
Theresa Geraci, RN BSN
OSF Saint Anthony Medical Center
5666 E. State Street
Rockford, IL 61108